Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections & Resolutions

Forgive the cliche post title, but don't you find yourself sounding overly colloquial and nostalgic around the holidays? Saying things like "Thank you 2011, can't wait to see what 2012 will bring!" and "Top that, 2012!" and "Alas, another year has come and gone!" and "Auld lang syne!"

Obviously, I'm a fan of personifying just about anything, but the ever popular challenging of the year to come to beat the closing year might be my all time favorite. So what is it about this time of year that allows us to reflect and pledge changes for the year to come. Because, theoretically, it's just another day. We could always start a new lifestyle, a new outlook, a new project or dream at any time, any day. The New Year symbolizes this magical restart button that we all, literally, countdown to and with the stroke of midnight we all get a clean slate.

So what am I looking forward to the most in 2012? Well, I'm so glad you asked! I guess it wouldn't be fair to look forward without looking back so here goes, my 2011/2012 Reflections & Resolutions:

2011 Highlights
Became Aunt Kim & Uncle Brian
(Second) Honeymooned in Hawaii
Re-became Texans & moved to Austin
Adopted our sweet Markley girl
Celebrated Brian's 30th in Vegas
Celebrated 1 Year of Blogging
Celebrated 3 Years of Wedded Bliss
Bought our first house
Stood in 3 of my best friends' weddings

What I'm working on for 2012 is a little less bulleted of a list. I want to appreciate everything good so that more good can come and join in the fun. I want to breathe and relax and be present. I want to remember to choose the healthier option. I want to continue to try new restaurants and make new recipes. I want to invest in my friendships, old and new.

I want this year to be awesome in every way possible.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Oh, wow, where to begin... First, a public reminder of why I blog in the first place. (This reminder is more for me than it is for you.) I started our blog to capture this time in our life. I wanted it to be a he said/she said documentation of our time as newlyweds. And if you've been reading along on our journey you've probably noticed that our blog has been more of a one sided, she said version of our story and we're not so newly wed anymore. Alas, our mission remains true - journal, remember, appreciate, reflect. This blog is for me to figure out my thoughts and log our adventures big and small. Sometimes you might wonder why I shared a story or didn't share another or shared way too many details on one and not enough of another. I guess it's the classic case of why the good guys always win - because they are the ones who write the history books!

So let's play catch up. Since my last real update, we bought a house, celebrated our third wedding anniversary, went to Little Rock to learn my family's recipes, moved into said house, celebrated our ninth year as a couple, started a new job, changed jobs, stood in two of my best friends' weddings, and celebrated Thanksgiving at the Ranch for the first time as husband and wife. As I remind myself of the importance of remembering the details of the above events, I will do my best to go back and fill in the blanks. And to not fall farther behind, I'll start with Thanksgiving.

This year my parents and siblings, Grandma and in-laws, Grandma-in-law, Aunt and Uncle, cousins and In-Laws-in-law (what do you call the parents of your aunt who is married to your Dad's brother?!) were all at the Ranch. Ah, the Ranch, that's another blog post in itself. In true cheese ball tradition, we all went around the table and said what we were most thankful for from the past year. And in true crybaby fashion, I completely lost it at the Thanksgiving lupper table. Oh yeah, the Harbergs do Thanksgiving at 2:00pm Central Time. I was only the 6th person to share (out of a possible 17) and all I got out was, "I have so much to be thankful for..." Now, I'm a cryer, but sometimes things hit me and I just can't stop. I mean, I had to excuse myself from the Thanksgiving table before everyone had had a chance to share. Classic. My sweet husband covered for me and as he squeezed my hand under the table said, "I'm thankful for my emotional and sensitive wife and for everyone being together this year for Thanksgiving."

So what would I have said if more than 8 words passed my lips before the emotion of the past year reached my throat and ended all communication for the subsequent several hours? I hope it would have sounded something like this:

"I have so much to the be thankful for: I am thankful for our move to Austin - our beautiful new home and amazingly sweet new friends. I am thankful we both have jobs we enjoy that allow us to meet smart and inspiring people and live our dream life in the best city in Texas. I am thankful for our families who continue to amaze us with their support of us as individuals and a as a couple. I am thankful for my loving husband and our rambunctious almost-one-year-old puppy, Markley, with both of whom I am clinically obsessed. I am thankful for everything we have experienced as a family and everything that is to come in this next year. I am thankful to be aware of my experiences and know in the moment how lucky I am to be living the life I am living. I have so much to be thankful for and I am truly thankful."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

L'Shana Tova

I was once told the significance of holidays was to acknowledge that an entire year had passed. And for some reason I can't type that sentence without getting a little teary-eyed. When I think of the past year, be it the Hebrew calendar or the Gregorian calendar, I am overwhelmed by the fact that nothing in my life is the same.

This time last year, I had recently been promoted from freelance assistant, to full time, self titled, operations manager. Brian had been moved to another team within his company and given a different, more prestigious title (both of which, we would later realize, were pivotal in our move to Austin). We were a few months away from becoming Aunt Kim and Uncle Brian and were overall enjoying life as D.I.N.K.s in our one-bedroom, Santa Monica apartment. A month later we would begin discussions of moving away from California and what that would mean for us both professionally and for our family. A month later Brian would interview for his current job and receive an offer we couldn't refuse. We would then take a celebratory trip to Hawaii and move to Austin.

In the subsequent six months we would buy a second car, adopt a puppy, celebrate Brian's 30th birthday, reach our third year of marriage and buy our first home. We would experience joy, loss, triumph, frustration, and through it all - love.

Which brings me to today, Erev Rosh Hashana, the start of my new year, and all I feel is thankful. Thankful for the changes that have brought me to today, thankful to my family who have never wavered in their support, thankful to my husband for leading me down this next chapter of our lives and for remaining the one true constant in my life for the past nine years.

May this year be our best yet and may all your dreams come true, too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Fall,

Please get here as soon as you can. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, you are set to make your appearance on September 23, and that's totally cool if you can't rearrange your schedule, but if you could get here a tick earlier this year, that would be great. Summer's been such a bitch lately. Honestly, who does she think she is?! Look at what her dry temperament has done to my poor, sweet Texas. I'm so over her...

Everyone is so excited for you to get here! Even the stores are having sales in anticipation of your arrival. Damn, girl, you got it goin' on. Let me know if you need anything!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

About a week ago, during lunch with a dear friend, we got on the topic of sabotage. No, not the early '90's smash hit by the Beastie Boys, but rather the unfortunate human condition of deliberately weakening another entity. The specific type of sabotage we were lamenting was the age old woman's woe of eating a buttery grilled panini sandwich minutes after an intense hour-long workout with an overpriced physical trainer. Why do we do it? Is it because we honestly believe we can consume more (and worse) calories after a sweat-session due to the fact/hope that our bodies will continue to burn said calories long after? Is it because we somehow, subconsciously think we - dare I say - don't deserve to enjoy the fruits of our labor? Long after our conversation transitioned and we said our goodbyes, I was still thinking of my own personal sabotage and what I might be subconsciously telling myself.

Then early this week, Brian and I had dinner with a different friend and we got to talking about... brace yourself... mediums. He confessed to not only seeking guidance from a medium, but also having some clairvoyant tendencies himself. He explained that the first step in being able to really hear your spirit guides (stay with me) is to quiet your own voices that swirl around your mind. Is it a coincidence that these two conversations happened within a week of each other during a time in my life where I spend my days trying to concoct a grand plan of what I'll be when I grow up? Those who believe in this sort of stuff would say no. So, if I were to quiet my own "voices" (a) how would I do that and (b) what would they have been saying? What might I be telling myself that I am not even aware I'm saying?! Do I subconsciously think I don't deserve success? Obviously, the conscious me thinks I deserve the world and more, but is there a voice, my voice, telling me otherwise?

Instead of trying to crack the code of what my subconscious voices are doing to my psyche behind my back, I decided on a more proactive approach. I have come up with three, short sentences that I'll repeat to myself whenever I find my mind racing. With all due respect to my conscious voice, I'll only say that my three part mantra sounds something like this: "I deserve _____, I deserve _____, and I am worthy of _____." It is my hope that in repeating my newly coined canticle, I will convince myself that I do in fact deserve and am worthy of the things I want most in life.

And while I wait for this theory to take hold, I did what any normal, well-adjusted girl would do. I hopped on yelp to find a medium in Austin! I am still awaiting a response from one intermediary so that I can schedule my first session. But for now I'll watch Eat.Pray.Love. and marvel at the timing of our Netflix hiatus ending and this movie being next on our queue.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Markley's Medical Maladies

So our sweet puppy, Markley - who, yes, is now a whopping 40 pounds at 6 months of age even though they told us she would be 30 pounds full grown - has finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel as far as her health is concerned. And no, I don't mean that light, I mean the good light where she came back to the healthy side. For about a month she was touch and go, in and out of the hospital, on and off IV fluids, antibiotics, steroids and probiotics. (All fancy terms for no one could figure out what the heck was wrong with the poor girl so they kept throwing money at the problem trying new treatments until she was better.)

I'll spare you the gruesome details of her ailments - among other things she was suffering from "anorexia" (I nearly jumped across the examination table when I saw the vet scribble that horrendous accusation on her measly little notepad), diarrhea (ie: liquid stool), complete loss of interest in playtime and severe dehydration. She wasn't herself, she felt awful and I couldn't do anything to help her... it was the worst. Luckily, my girl bounced back with the help of one night in the hospital, several subcutaneous fluid injections and an impressive list of take-home pills, powders and liquids. Throughout the whole traumatic ordeal (still figuring out if it was more stressful for me or her) Markley never lost her ability to create some ever-so-hilarious and emotion-inducing pictures. What can I say, she was born to be a star!


All buckled in and ready to go back to the vet!

So she wouldn't take her IV out in the hospital...
Poor, sweet Markley.

Paws. All I see is paws in this picture.

Just... can't... take... one... more... step...

Coming inside from going potty.
Passing out before I could get the leash off.

Spilling out of her crate...

She honestly sleeps like this.


Being coy in the car on the way to Houston.

Feeling much better. Digging with her best gal, Penny!

So what was wrong with her, you might ask? Oh, we still don't know. All we know is that we changed her food to Science Diet Sensitive Stomach and she's a new dog! Hmm...
15 lb bag of Science Diet Sensitive Stomach... $25
Markley's Medical Bills (pre-pet insurance*)... $2000.00

And next we have a game called Creepy or Cool?! First question: I have 4 of Markley's baby teeth on bedside table. Creepy or Cool? You decide!

*If you have a pet, get pet insurance. If you think your pet won't get sick, you're wrong. That is all!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?! My sincerest apologies for being MIA for - dare I say - over a month! I have so much to fill you in on and in true Kimberly fashion I find it only necessary and appropriate to list what I plan to write about in the coming days:

1. Brian's 30th Birthday Weekend in Vegas
2. Brian's Surprise Party (Oh, yes, I'm good.)
3. Markley's Health (Don't worry, she's okay... now.)
4. Leah's Baby Naming
5. Life in Austin (including house and job hunting)
6. Launching my Esty store!

Well, that's just a little sneak peak of things to come! I do hope you'll stop by over the next week or so while I frantically try to catch you up on life for the Austin Luskeys.

Oh, and this weekend marked one year of blogging. Happy 1st Blogoversary to us!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thank you!!

Thank you for supporting me during my BABY BOARDS GIVEAWAY! Only one week left to take advantage of this awesome deal! Check out some of the BABY BOARDS* in the works this month:

*Each BABY BOARD comes with #'s 1-12 to velcro onto that little white square you see pictured.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

She thinks I'm wonderful.

There is nothing like watching a dog watch you. Markley is so precocious and investigative yet, so credulous and uncomplicated. Everything is new and everything is great. This morning, while Markley watched me get ready from her favorite off-limits* carpet locale, I thought to myself, she thinks I'm wonderful. She sat, poised and ready as if I might ask her to curl the back of my hair or help me decide which t-shirt to wear. She watched me open each cabinet and slide each drawer closed, eagerly waiting to see which product was next to be unveiled. Like a flower girl watching a bride, I saw her memorizing my movements. She could have chewed her bone or chased her tail (two of her favorite pastimes) but she didn't. She wanted to be with me. There is nothing like loving a dog who loves you in return. She thinks I'm wonderful. And I think she's pretty great, too.

*That's right, folks, Markley's also extremely rebellious and although she's been told over one million times that her presence has not been requested in either of the carpeted bedrooms, she is just so darn cute I sometimes cave and allow her to defy me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

This baby...

This baby was born on May 14, 1981.

This baby would grow up to be highly educated
with a vast array of interests, skills, and passions.

This baby would prove to be the most loyal
friend, brother and son.

This baby would one day marry
the most beautiful girl in all the land a nice, Jewish girl from Texas.

This baby would have one request when celebrating his 30th birthday:
to go to Vegas, baby.

Happy Birthday, Baby.
Your wish is my command!

I love you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let Them Eat (Crab) Cakes!

Crab Cakes!

Half of the Austin Luskeys has a strong commitment to a healthy lifestyle. The other half prefers creamy, sugary, indulgence is working on it. To aid in the fight against temptation, Brian purchased a subscription to Clean Eating Magazine and although I've only made one recipe from said magazine, I'm already hooked!

For your cooking/eating pleasure...

Crab Cakes:
1lb crabmeat, drained and picked for shells
1tb Dijon mustard
4tb whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
2tb chopped fresh parsley
4 scallions (white and some green parts) thinly sliced
Zest 1/2 lemon
1.5 tsp salt-free chili or cajun seasoning (like ms. dash extra spicy seasoning blend)
1tsp smoked paprika
1/8tsp sea salt
1lg egg
1lg egg white
1/4c whole wheat flour
fresh ground pepper to taste
2tb safflower oil, divided
Lemon wedges for serving, optional

In large bowl combine crabmeat, dijon, panko, parsley, scallions, lemon zest, chili season, paprika, salt, egg and egg white. Gently fold mixture with rubber spatula to blend to form patties, firmly pack crab mixture into a 1/4c measuring cup. Invert crab into your palm and press into the shape of a disk, about 1 inch thick. Transfer to a plate and repeat. Add 1tb of oil to large, heavy skillet and heat on medium. Add half crab cakes to cook until golden brown, 4-5 minutes per side.

Yields: 10 crab cakes

Optional Salsa:
1c honeydew diced
1c strawberries diced
1/2sm red onion diced
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
3tb chopped parsley
1.5tb fresh lemon juice
pinch sea salt

Mix all salsa ingredients. Can be made upto 4 hours ahead. Serve at room temp.

You're welcome,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


"BABY BOARDS by Kimberly" is a home business I started a little over a year ago for three simple reasons:

1. I love crafts.
2. I love babies.
3. I love being the boss.

I also love how Facebook ads tell me where I should be in my life. Four years ago, I noticed the left column of my homepage profile had begun to fill with ads for diamond rings and romantic restaurants. A few months later we officially took our relationship to the next level by changing our relationship status getting engaged and all of the sudden my sidebar ads changed to bridal bootcamp, floral design discount, and party supply rentals. Another relationship status upgrade later and lo and behold - puppy training classes, home decor, maternity wear. Another telltale sign of the times- profile pictures. We've all seen the profile progression - silly/girls night out, romantic date night/first trip together, beaming smiles and an upturned left hand showing off the bling, kissing while cutting the cake, first family portrait as a threesome (you, spouse, puppy). We all know what comes next... babies! And although I'm fine simply looking at other people's babies for the time being, I did notice a void that no Facebook ad was offering to fill.

I kept seeing young mamas posting pictures of their adorable babies with pathetic (no offense), handwritten, monthly birthday signs and thought, "Someone needs to make cuter signs for these babies!" And then I asked myself, "Why don't I just do it? I'm crafty! I like babies." I hightailed it to Michael's, made four prototypes, emailed a few mamas and asked if they would take pictures of their babies with the BABY BOARDS, ran to the post office, waited by my computer, constantly refreshing my email inbox patiently for the pictures and the rest is history!

So here's the scoop - BABY BOARDS is back after a brief hiatus while it's CEO moved across the country and now I need your help! For the month of May ALL BABY BOARDS will be FREE!! (Plus the cost of shipping = $5. Limit one per person.) All you have to do is follow these three easy steps:

1. Follow our blog!
2. "Like" the BABY BOARDS by Kimberly fan page!
3. Leave a comment on this post saying you've completed the task!

Call me vain, but I like knowing people are reading and enjoying this little online diary of mine. So if you like what you read - follow me! The fan page on Facebook also proves to be entertaining. While you're there, check out the adorable pictures sent in by BABY BOARD fans. (That's not a requirement to get a discounted BABY BOARD, but trust me, you'll want to.) It's hilarious to see the tiniest babies propped up looking so small next to their personalized BABY BOARD and so awesome to watch them grow month after month.

May is going to be a great month full of taking chances! Who knows... I might even fill out the application for that secret job I mentioned while complaining about my impatience. Either way, I'm excited to see the opportunities this giveaway brings!

Lovely doing business with you,

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lizard Love

Today has been such a great day so far! We enjoyed a simple breakfast of Upper Crust Bakery's famous cinnamon rolls, (as well as a decaf, skim latte for me and a small drip coffee for Brian), we fell in love with an amazing house in the adorable, central-Austin neighborhood of Rosedale and while walking Markley saw the above two lizards in love.

Aah, Austin, how we love you so!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

House Hunter-Gatherer

Since moving back to Texas two short months ago, the Austin Luskeys have been hunting for the perfect house to call our own! It's true, our wish lists differ, I will most certainly base my decision 100% on an emotional feeling I get while standing in the center of the home and Brian, rest assured, will be focused on one thing - budget. To be fair, we both want a nice, safe neighborhood (with great schools to utilize in the future) three bedrooms, two baths and preferably an open kitchen/dining/living room floor plan. I wouldn't mind a fabulously remodeled kitchen, crown moldings, formal dining room, a relaxing oasis master suite and pristine landscaping - you know, the charm of a vintage house with the class of a brand new one! I mean, to quote South Pacific's hysterically insightful Happy Talk, "If you don't have a dream, how you gunna have a dream come true?!"

During our hunt, I've been gathering design inspiration and might I say - if all goes according to plan we'll have the most gorgeous house on the block in no time! But first, we have to find a house. Details. Below are two pictures from which I'd love to copy draw inspiration.

I may or may not have seen a house today
that already had black granite counters... :)

If you have to do laundry,
it might as well be in a room this fun!

Every listing we see, we get warmer and warmer. With each house we learn a little bit more about what we need on move-in day and which upgrades can wait. Of course, we'd love to win the lottery and flip a house into a design shrine masterpiece, but there is also something really special about creating a home, one layer at a time, and doing it as a family.

ps. We actually did apply for the show House Hunters and, after emailing back and forth with one of their producers, have a phone interview set up for next week! Wish us luck!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Impatience is My Virtue

I grew up in a family overflowing with strong women. My Grandma was raising four children by the time she was 24 years old and my Mom was already onto her second successful career by the time my siblings and I were in elementary school. Seeing such examples of women who worked full time (both in the workforce and in the home) and had loving marriages and a home cooked, gourmet meal on the table every night by 6:30pm sent a clear message to me from an early age: having it all is the norm.

I often wonder if I had been warned - life isn't as easy as it looks - would I have listened? And if I had listened, would I have assumed that old adage didn't apply to me? I admittedly have a tendency to decide I want something and then wonder why - since I so obviously want it - did it not fall into my lap yesterday.

When we decided to move to Austin, I was encouraged time and time again, "take your time figuring out what it is you want to do." I clearly misinterpreted this advice. For some reason, I heard "sit back, relax, and wait for your next career to fall into you lap as you sit in your apartment watching Real Housewives reruns." What I should have heard, and now understand, is, "try something. If that doesn't end up being a perfect match, try something else!" I had this aha! moment when I came across a job listing for which I thought I might be a good fit. Immediately I thought of the cons - it would be a long commute, I've never done anything in that field before, I'm not sure I want to completely leave the acting/casting/artistic world and have a traditional "nine to five" - the list continues. But then I remember the reasons I was drawn to the listing in the first place - I would learn a lot, my skills and strengths would be put to good use, I would be an advocate for a cause that touches my heart, I could have a work/life balance - the list continues.

And then it hit me. This is what people mean when they say, "take your time." I could fill out the application (a novel concept, I know) meet with the potential employer and talk about the opportunity, see if the job would even be a good fit. Then if it doesn't seem to be all I thought it could, I would just take my time and find something else.

This revelation, I am fully aware, isn't the most impressive discovery, but definitely feels like a weight has been lifted. I'm just glad I came to my senses after only a few months in Austin - not a few years.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Doo unto others...

One of the benefits to living in our apartment building is its proximity to a fabulous dog park. One of the negatives is living near people who are not responsible enough to care for themselves, let alone another living being. The Austin Luskeys are constantly rolling our eyes at the broken beer glass in the landscape (where we are trying to potty train our puppy), gagging on the smells in the concrete stairwell from selfish neighbors who lazily allow their pets to defecate before making it outside and fearing for our lives when the jacked up Chevy Tahoes come blazing around the narrow, blind corners of our disproportionately small parking garage.

The above picture is a note I wrote and placed between one of my rude neighbor's dog's excrements. Classy, I know.

The note reads:


Yes, I took it upon myself to write a note on behalf of my fellow, rule-following residents. The moral of the story is, if you own a pet and live in an apartment building, walk your pet in a neighborhood, enjoy walking (without your pet) in a clean, odor-free stairwell... oh...sheesh, basically if you live on earth and ever come in contact with other humans - BE RESPONSIBLE AND RESPECTFUL OF OTHERS AROUND YOU! That's all.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Austin Livin'

This weekend was a food, friends and art filled weekend for the Austin Luskeys and we must say, we are getting the hang of this Austin livin' thing! Saturday was the Art City Austin festival as well as The Alliance Austin Actors Fair which were both fun and informative. I went to the actors fair to attempt to establish some casting contacts here in Austin and so far so great! I have a lunch meeting scheduled for Friday to discuss how I can get more involved in the Austin casting/acting communities. The art festival was a great way to spend some time outdoors and interact with the nation's most talented artists. Brian and I had a great time pretending we had a mile-high pile of cash we needed to spend on art and deciding which pieces we wanted to take home. The good thing is, we are both drawn to the same styles of art and appreciate photographs, paintings and sculptures with a sense of humor and whimsy.

The entrance to the Art City Austin festival.
(Look closely on the lefthand side and you'll see an
Austinite wearing a sombrero and riding a unicycle!)

Close-up of a multi layered, metal photograph
of Austin's famous South Congress Street!

We also tried an awesome, new restaurant called Eastside Cafe. Get a load of our romantic, date night cuisine:
Plate #1:
Panko & Pecan Encrusted Chicken with Jalapeno Cream Gravy,
Mashed Potatoes & Field Greens
Plate #2:
Four Jumbo Fried Shrimp
with Crispy Fries and Apple Pecan Slaw
Side Dish:
Miso Ginger Acorn Squash

And this is how Markley spent her weekend while her parents were out exploring...
Watching television... in the coffee table...

Snuggling with her favorite toy!

Ps. Today marks Day #16 in my 30 Day Challenge - more than half way there! I'll admit, I've failed on the "blog every day" goal, but I've succeeded on the much more personal and important goals of taking time for myself and reflecting on what I really want and need out of this next chapter in my life. I think giving myself a moment to breathe without the pressure to hurry up and decide has been the greatest gift of all. It's also given me the extra patience I need as we are now on Day #2 of Markley's biggest challenge yet... crate training!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Better Late Than Never!

The Austin Luskeys spent this past weekend at Fox Creek Ranch, our family's vacation home near Richards, TX. This was Markley's first time at the Ranch and off leash - I think it's safe to say she's a country dog at heart. She loved digging and chasing her doggie-aunt, Tootsie, and going on our morning walks. I mean, who wouldn't want to walk a mile and then be carried by her Mama the remaining three miles. Let's just say I got the best workout of the bunch - carrying an 8.2 pound hot water bottle on a dirt road in Texas ain't easy!

The best part of the weekend, aside from celebrating Jamie's 24th birthday, spending quality time with my grandmothers, brother, aunt, cousin and parents and sleeping in while others watched our baby, was finally getting the CD of our wedding weekend pictures! That's right, folks, the Austin Luskeys have been married for a whopping 32 months and are just now in possession of the professional pictures taken at our rehearsal dinner and wedding. I am so excited to finally make a rehearsal dinner album and print/display pictures from our skinniest days wedding weekend. Until now, the only evidence of our marriage was our Ketubah and a larger-than-life, bridal portrait of yours truly that my parents insisted on delivering during their first visit to Austin.

No, the above picture was not taking over the weekend at the Ranch. It was captured on August 30, 2008 during the cocktail hour of our rehearsal dinner, the evening before we became Mr. and Mrs. Brian Daniel Luskey. I'll be sure to post favorites as I re-live the moments sorting through all 5,000 images.

And to those who are interested, I did keep up my 30 Day Challenge at the Ranch - minus the blogging, forgive me, the Ranch is sans internet. Today is Day #9 and am still as motivated as I was last Monday. This morning, I took Markley on a long walk (even though it was drizzling), had lunch with my cousin, Emily, at an adorable build-your-own salad bar and am now off to run some errands while my sleepy puppy naps away the afternoon. I think the 30 Day Challenge is even working on the monster Markley!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jamie!

My sweet, baby sister is turning 24 years old today. Jamie will make you laugh until you can't breathe, question things you thought you knew and reconsider the incorporation of animal prints into your wardrobe. She is my biggest inspiration and the best reminder that life is what you make of it. Jamie doesn't hear the words no and can't, her life motto is simply "Love my life, I am Queen!"

Happy, Happy Birthday, Jame-O! I love you.

Jamie is never tired. It's amazing.

Classic. Jamie is being super sassy, I'm trying to correct
her and Brian has no idea any of this is happening.

Just a great picture of Jamie and a few of her biggest fans!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Are Y'all Seniors?"

Today was Day #4 of my 30 Day Challenge and I am already seeing the benefits of taking the time to smell the roses. Markley was in one of her moods this morning (you know the kind of mood a gal gets in when she feels like biting and peeing everywhere) which made it easy for me to leave the house on the early side. I had an appointment to look at a house which ended up being a disappointment, but it always helps to see what's out there!

I had lunch with a new, old friend. It's funny, our paths have been eerily similar for most of our lives, but not until recently did we became closer friends. Both of our respective parents met and fell in love at Tulane University and we both followed in their footsteps marrying our college sweethearts only after pursuing an ever-controversial artistic major and studying abroad in Florence, Italy. We have both lived in Chicago and Los Angeles and now call Austin home. So she's a new friend that I've had all along - the best kind! She is starting her own interior design business (an excellent resource as a future new home owner) so we've bonded over the woes of taking a risk and trusting your strengths in a world of predetermined pathways.

After lunch, I picked up my cousin, Mollie, from the airport (yes when I married Brian we combined forces and became related to the entire world so it will be rare/difficult for me to write a blog post without the word cousin) and drove her to my cousin (see, did it again) Sarah's dorm for a fun intro-to-college weekend. As we were riding up the elevator to tour Sarah's room, she ran into a friend of hers to whom she politely introduced us and explained our visit. The friend couldn't have been sweeter when she asked, "Oh fun! Are y'all seniors?"

"No," I said, "But thank you." The 30 Day Challenge is working!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day #2 & #3

Nothin' keeps a mind, body & soul recharge up to speed like a trip to Lake Austin Spa! My cousins Emily, Sarah and I drove the short, 30 minute, scenic route northwest to join my Aunt Polly for a spa treatment and ladies lunch. I couldn't have been more in heaven.

Lake Austin Spa has a special place in my heart for many reasons. First, it is the inspiration and birthplace of our beloved Shabby Chic Spa. It was because of their expansive remodel (and omission of adding more overnight guest rooms) that we no longer hold our annual summer spa weekends at an official spa. We had to shabby chic our event to continue the tradition while - to quote my Grandma - "staying out of the poorhouse." Second, the grounds of the spa are simply breathtaking. From the stepping stone walkways to the floral filled canopies to the lakeside setting, Lake Austin Spa really is an oasis not to be missed. The last time I visited Lake Austin Spa was 2003, shortly before their grand remodel and coincidentally the summer before our first Shabby Chic Spa Weekend. This year will be our 8th Shabby Chic with a grand total of 22 eligible attendees. So I guess, in hindsight, I'm glad they added a multimillion dollar spa and didn't think to add anything else - it opened the door for some intense, female, familial bonding with full fat cookies and high fructose corn syrup daiquiris!

Aside from being with my cousins and aunt in arguably Austin's most beautiful waterfront haven, I was also inspired by the decor and food. The below picture features a sophisticated yet whimsical mobile showcasing delicately beaded dragonflies. This picture doesn't really do it justice, so look for more in about 3-5 years when something very similar is hanging in our future child's nursery.

My lunch was as delicious as it was healthy and a great reminder that good food doesn't have to be smothered in queso and/or deep fried. My sandwich featured smoked chicken, avocado, walnut and arugula pesto and heirloom tomatoes, served on homemade grain-and-nut-filled bread and garnished with fresh lentil salad. Buon appetito!

Yesterday was without a doubt a day filled with fueling the mind, body and soul simultaneously. Today was more about being a mother to Markley which in many ways is equally satisfying. Markley got her second (of four) round of vaccines and slept like a baby the entire afternoon. This gave me some much needed time (without her literally yapping at my heels) to catch up on household duties, make a downright delicious dinner, email/blog and even have extra time to check out our weekly local farmer's market!

And for the record, I did blog yesterday, I just haven't published that story yet - stay tuned, it's a good one. So I'm still good on my challenge. Thanks to all who've checked in and supported me - keep reading and I'll keep writing!

Monday, March 21, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day #1

My 30 Day Challenge is off to a great start! So far I've not only met my goals, but I've added a few more!

BREATHE - Today I combined BREATHE and MOVE which won't always be the case. I didn't check my phone or bring music to the gym at our apartment complex. The gym, I am embarrassed to admit, has become somewhat foreign to me these days and although I am quite familiar with proper lifting techniques (any modern day bride can tell you how to look your best in three months flat) I eased into today's workout. A respectable 45 minutes later, I went back to check on my sleeping puppy.

MOVE - After my workout, I took Markley on a mini-walk outside. She really isn't supposed to be outside because she hasn't been fully vaccinated yet and both the Austin Humane Society and her Vet scared the bejesus out of us with all of their parvo horror stories. I was sure to not allow her to eat other dog's excrement - ew, like I would allow that even if she was vaccinated - and she seemed fine with my standards of walking etiquette. She even got to romp around with another little puppy about her size which was so cute and probably a big no-no, but I didn't care. She was having fun and I was thrilled she wasn't teething on me for once.

Also, while I was outside, I started chatting with a guy running a small bootcamp right next to our complex! The people looked like they were having a blast, the group meets Monday through Thursday at 11:00am (perfect for those stay-at-home-pet-parents like yours truly) and it's only $40 for the month! BAM. I'm in.

CONNECT - Today I had the best connection one can ask for - good old fashioned, face to face, woman to woman, real and simple, honest to goodness lunch with a new friend. It's funny how you can meet someone and feel like you've known them forever which is definitely the case with my lunch buddy. We were seated at the same table at a California friend's wedding this past summer and seven months later now live ten minutes away. The world works in mysterious ways and already I am thankful for our friendship. After our first time hanging out with her and her husband, Brian and I said "Don't you feel like we've known them forever?" And ten minutes later we got an email from them saying just that. Some things were just meant to be!

BLOG - Well, as I'm sure you've noticed I did a little Spring cleaning on the blog and picked up a new name while I was at it! I thought it was time since our Santa Monica days now seem like years ago, not weeks. I will always, always be thankful and proud that we were at one point the Santa Monica Luskeys, but you can't move forward if you're looking back.

COOK - One unwritten goal I added post blog post was to cook new and healthy recipes Monday through Thursday for the next four weeks. I have a tendency to get into food ruts, I've mentioned before I can make anything with a pound of ground turkey, but I wanted to push myself a little bit more. Given my love and appreciation for food and my curiosity for what goes into my restaurant meals, it's about time I start remembering some eat-out faves and try to replicate healthier, homemade versions. Tonight's dinner (with the help of my sous chef, Central Market) we had israeli couscous, grilled chicken and greek salad.

The best way to describe the results of Day #1 is: FULL. I feel full and productive and inspired and relaxed. I don't feel like I wasted my day or anxious about not having chosen a career path. I just feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be and taking things at the right speed - one day at a time.

Testing...Testing... 1,2,3!

Just testing out a new signature!

Notice Anything?

In the spirit of my 30 Day Challenge, I thought I'd shake things up a bit and revamp the look of our blog. And by a "bit" I mean change the entire thing! Whaddya think? "Follow" and comment with your thoughts!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

30 Day Challenge

My Grandma has been subscribing me to self help discovery magazines since I was in my early teens. With every Real Simple and Body & Soul article I read, and every episode of Oprah I sob through, one would think I am the most balanced human specimen ever created. Wrong. As I've mentioned before, balance is one of the hardest obstacles I've encountered in my adult life and since I have now been given a magical restart button, I think I'll take it!

When I told my work friends I was moving to Austin, a close co-worker of mine said, "Kim! Now you get a clean pie!" She was referencing this beauty below (or a similar chart) - a life balance pie chart used to identify problem areas visually and encourage growth in said lacking areas resulting in a perfectly balanced life pie. Easy as... well, you know...

Of course, one can rename the sections of the pie to correspond with the aspects of her own life she is attempting to balance. For example, I would rename my segments:
Which leads me to my own 30 Day Challenge. Honestly, it's overwhelming to attempt to work on all eight pie pieces simultaneously, so I had to find a way to decipher the forest from the trees. These eight ingredients make a perfect pie, but they are all just more specific threads that contribute to the holy trinity of overall balance: mind, body and soul. So here is the challenge to myself:

For the next 30 days, I pledge to...
  • BREATHE (mind) - 30 minutes of silence, no computer, no phone, no puppy; just me.
  • MOVE (body) - Workout in a gym, try a yoga class, go on a long walk, etc.
  • CONNECT (soul) - Call or email a friend or family member I haven't talked to in a while.
March 21 will be Day #1 of my challenge and to hold myself accountable, I also plan to blog each day. So I have about 36 hours before I have to move, breathe, connect and write every day for 30 days. Why not just start today? Come on, we all know the best diets start on Mondays.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Random A-Z

Instead of writing about what it's like to now be in our fourth week in Austin, I've decided to write a silly post to get my mind off of the exhaustion that is attempting to simultaneously train a puppy and figure out the rest of my life. I saw this on another blog and thought it'd be fun!

A. Age: 27

B. Bed size: Sleepin' like a baby on a brand new KING mattress!

C. Chore you dislike: Tying/taking out the trash. Just thinking about the smell makes me gag.

D. Dogs: Markley, our 10 week old terror terrier mix rescue pup. So cute when she's sleeping.

E. Essential start to your day: Breakfast. Must eat within minutes of waking up or it ain't pretty.

F. Favorite color: Purple. Just ask my bridesmaids!

G. Gold or silver: White gold. Classy and traditional yet modern and sophisticated.

H. Height: 5'5" (and 3/4")

I. Instruments you play(ed): First chair, Viola, baby! (In 6th grade when it was required for one semester...)

J. Job title: Hmm... Personal Chef to Brian Luskey? Stay-at-Home-Pet-Owner? Soul Searching Aficionado?

K. Kids: None that I know of...

L. Live: Austin, TX (By way of Houston, Ann Arbor, Chicago and Santa Monica)

M. Mom’s name: Karen

N. Nicknames: Kimmy, Kimmers, Kim, Kimbo, Kimblah, Blah, Berly, Precious

O. Overnight hospital stays: None!

P. Pet peeves: Being rushed, waiting on late people, not having someone's undivided attention, rudeness.

Q. Quote from a movie: "Hey, if anyone needs to make a call, I've got a phone." - Romy & Michelle's

R. Righty or lefty: Righty, tighty!

S. Siblings: Older Bro, Younger Sis. Middle Child all the way.

T. Time you wake up: Nowadays around 8:45am.

U. Underwear: Victoria's Secret Cotton Bikini Panties. (Ew. I hate the word Panty.)

V. Vegetables you don’t like: I like all vegetables when they're seasoned and cooked right. Or fried. Or both.

W.What makes you run late: When I try to do my own hair "up do's." And these days, Markley.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth and a few wrist and ankle issues in middle school.

Y. Yummy food you make: I'm a genius at all things ground turkey: chili, tacos, burgers, you name it.

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Rhinoceros. They are dinosaurs. Seriously, look closely next time.

There you have it, 26 random facts about yours truly! What would your answers be?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Markley on American Idol!

Last night was our first night home with Markley and we made our first royal parenting mistake. We let her watch American Idol before bed. This gave Markley dreams of stardom and being the remarkably driven and persistent pup she is, she couldn't wait another minute to prepare for the Idol Season 11 auditions. Knowing it might be a long night with this budding star on our hands, Brian and I checked in at precisely 10:30pm.

Markley decided to write her own song, I mean, please, she's way too original to cover someone else's tired single. She started as all great musicians begin - with doh, re, mi. Her scales started startlingly higher each round - honestly, I'm surprised she could even hear some of those notes. She experimented with vibrato, staccato and the ever popular Christina-Aguilera-growl-singing.

Here was Markley's rehearsal schedule:
  • 11:00pm - (5 minutes) Her Daddy gave her some pointers on how singing from inside the crate results in a purer sound quality.
  • 1:30am - (5 minutes) Her Mommy further encouraged the crate-singing and introduced the thrilling vocal warmup of "shhhh..."
  • 3:00-3:30am - Her longest song-writing session by far. She just couldn't figure out the perfect lyric to rhyme with sleepless...
  • 5:00-5:20am - You know, it's just really hard to have so much talent. You just want to share it with world. All the time. Day and night.
  • 6:50-7:15am - Brian and Markley ate breakfast together and it was at this time when Brian discovered Markley was most inspired by current events.
  • 9:45am - I awoke to the sweet sounds of silence. Worried she had passed out from the pressures of preparation I ventured to the living room only to find her peacefully playing and watching The TODAY Show!
As her Mother, of course I think she's the most talented little singer that ever did sing. As someone who previously worked in casting, I am going to encourage her to pursue math and science. Regardless, she's a happy puppy and is now running in her sleep on my lap. What can I say, the girl's gotta stay in shape if she's going to be the next American Idol.

Markley's morning nap...
Her crate is set up so that she can walk around
her play pen, but not through the entire apartment.

Markley preparing to pounce on her stuffed carrot!

All tuckered out after a morning of fun!
(Leopard robe courtesy of Jamie "Miss Thang" Harberg)